Board Game Review: Ticket to Ride
Author: Elyss Koh'inor, August 2016
It’s time to make a connection! Buy up railroads to connect major cities across the country in Ticket to Ride, a board game for 2-6 players by (producer). My family received the game as a gift this past year and it has since become a household favorite.
There are multiple versions of Ticket to Ride for many continents and countries, and extension maps for others. Currently advertised on their website are USA, Europe, Nordic Countries, Asia, India, Africa, the Netherlands, the United Kingdom, and Rails and Sails, which is a global adventure. As I only own the USA version that will be the focus of my review and pictures, however, you can join me in drooling over the various versions of the game on their website or amazon.com.
The box and game board are of excellent quality. The components can be easily packed away and there are extra colored plastic trains included in case any are lost.
The one component of the game that is not fantastic, and one of the few negative sides of the game, are the cards.
While they are the quality of any other board game cards, they are small, and thus are difficult to shuffle. This can make gameplay tedious if they are not properly shuffled beforehand. They aren’t impossible to shuffle, but it is an, unfortunately, annoying part of the game setup.
Ticket to Ride starts with each player having a set number of plastic trains, four colored train cards, and three destination tickets. These destination tickets are part of what drives the game, and each player must retain at least two. The cards have two cities listed, and you must try to connect these positions before the end of the game.
How do you connect destinations? That’s where the colored train cards come in. On each turn, you have the choice of drawing more cards so you can purchase railroad connections. Some cone connections have specific color requirements, others are “wild” and can be purchased by any color group. Doubled tracks may only be used when there are four or more players, otherwise, only one set of trains can occupy a section. When you’ve purchased a section, you line up the plastic trains of your color on that section, connecting two destination points.
The more trains you put down at once, the more points you gather. Points are recorded on the numbered border of the game board. The game ends when one person only has two, one, or no trains remaining. Final points are calculated based on whether people reached their destinations. If they connected the places successfully, points are added (value is shown on destination ticket), but if you failed to connect, points are subtracted from your final score. Bonus points are awarded for the longest continuous train.
The more train cars you put down at once, the more points you get. Six cars is the longest section with a fifteen point value.
Once you become familiar with the game, it’s easy to make playing more complex by blocking other players if it seems they are moving in a specific direction. There is a range of strategies to explore and use as you become better at the game.
The red player noticed that the blue player was probably going to try and connect Atlanta and New Orleans. Now, if the blue player really wanted to connect the two cities, they would have to take an alternative route.
Overall, Ticket to Ride is fast-paced with multiple levels of strategy, and one of my all-time favorite board games.